One of the questions you might have when trying to comfort someone who has lost a loved one is what funeral gifts instead of flowers can I send or give that will help them feel better?
The impulse to send flowers is a good one, and it’s one we all share. Origins of the practice date back to 62,000 BC and in fact, adorning deceased bodies with flowers is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest human ritual.
The practice is still common today. We adorn caskets with flowers, fill funeral homes and churches with arrangements, send them to loved ones, and leave them on burial plots. But there are other ways to honor a loved one.
Funeral Gifts Instead of Flowers
If giving flowers is a long-lasting, beloved tradition, then why think of doing something different?
There are countless personal reasons someone might prefer another token of affection or remembrance other than flowers. Some people note that as flowers wilt, it reminds them of death and makes them sadder than they were before. Others don’t want to maintain bouquets or clean the vases and containers they come in once they’ve wilted. Some are sensitive to the scent of flowers or allergic to particular flowers.
Whatever the reason, it’s common now to see the words “in lieu of flowers” in obituaries. Often that sentence is followed by a suggestion that donations be made in the deceased’s name to a charity or organization that was important to them.
But what if you want to do something else, or something in addition to a donation? What if you want to give something to the deceased’s loved ones as a show of affection or comfort?
Here are a few funeral gift ideas instead of flowers that you might consider.
What to Send to a Funeral Instead of Flowers
It’s important to think of the person you’re sending the gift to and what you know about them. This will allow you to personalize a gift.
For example, you might send a gift certificate for a massage or a pedicure if you know that they’ve enjoyed these services in the past. Sending a gift like this reminds them that it’s good to take care of themselves as they grieve (this is something that some forget, especially when their grief is new). It also encourages them to get outside the house and interact with others, which can be difficult.
Another thing you can do is get them tickets to something they might enjoy doing with you. Take them to a movie or a theater production. Go to a concert together. Attend an art gallery opening or go to a poetry reading or author event together.
This idea can be particularly enjoyable if you’ve done these things together in the past, but even if you haven’t, finding a way to spend time together is really what matters. It’s just an added bonus if it’s an event you know they’ll love.
Another option is to feed them. Yes, people will likely bring them food in the week or so after their loved one has passed. But as the weeks and months go by, those visits tend to drop off and that’s when the grief really sets in.
Bringing them a meal or taking them out to dinner or giving them a gift certificate to a restaurant you know they will enjoy can not only mean they’re eating delicious, nutritious food. It can also mean that they are reminded that people are still thinking of them, and they still care that they are grieving.
Things To Do Instead of Flowers
You might also consider practical gifts of time or talent.
Maybe a widow relied on her husband to clean the gutters of their home and now that he’s gone, she either can’t or doesn’t know how to do it on her own. You might consider doing that task for her.
Or maybe you notice that a once beloved garden has become overgrown or hasn’t been planted like it had been before. You might organize a group to turn that into a space that a grieving person can enjoy.
There are many practical ways to show your support. You could grocery shop for a grieving person. Shovel their driveway and sidewalks in the winter. Offer to help if you notice they’re working on a home improvement project or cleaning out their garage.
The point isn’t so much what you do, but that you show them that they are still supported and valued.
Funeral Gifts Instead of Flowers
If you still want to give a “something,” though, that’s ok too. But instead of flowers, look to the hobbies or interest of the decreased and their family.
If they are avid naturalists, maybe gift the family with a bird feeder personalized with their loved one’s name. Or consider having a bench named for them at a local park, or establishing a Little Free Library in their memory.
You might also send a trinket or keepsake that reminds you of their loved one. Or you could purchase a memorial stone, or have a tree or star named for them, or buy them books that might bring them comfort.
Or, you might just consider sitting with them, even if they’re quiet. Maybe go for a drive, or take them for coffee and let them stare into the mug. The comfort will come from knowing you’re there, rather than being given a gift.
We’ve been helping families navigate the most challenging moments of their lives for more than 40 years, and we’d be honored to help you in your time of need. Reach out if we can be of service.